AT&T reportedly testing femtocell waters

AT&T reportedly is contacting some customers to see if they'd like to test out a femtocell service.

Writes Ars Technica:

An Ars Technica reader forwarded a customer survey question he'd seen after being solicited by AT&T for his opinion: "AT&T's new product is a small, security-enabled cellular base station that easily connects to your home DSL or Cable Internet, providing a reliable wireless signal for any 3G phone in every room of your house. The device allows you to have unlimited, nationwide Anytime Minutes for incoming or outgoing calls."

Sprint has been offering femtocells for a while now under the name AIRAVE. For the uninitiated, it's a router-looking device that hooks into your broadband Internet connection and spits out a short-range (like, inside your house) 3G signal. Helpful if you're in an otherwise poor coverage area.

Sprint's and AT&T's offerings are different from T-Mobile's @Home service, which needs special handsets and doesn't just spit out a pure cellular signal.

No word on what AT&T might charge for the service. Sprint is charging $100 for its AIRAVE base station, $5 a month for the service, another $10 for unlimited use, plus the usual taxes and fees. [edited] So, how much is a better signal that you're already paying for worth to you?

Phil Nickinson

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

  • Great article. The bit about Sprint should read, "Sprint is charging $100 for its AIRAVE base station, $5 a month for the service, and $5 a month for unlimited usage through the AIRAVE."
  • Ah ha! Snuck another $5 on us, huh? Updated.
  • From the Sprint web site: Pricing
    Sprint AIRAVE Base Station - $99.99/each (requires activation at time of purchase and subscription to an AIRAVE plan. Excludes taxes.)
    AIRAVE Enhanced Coverage Charge - $4.99/mo. (required per AIRAVE unit)**
    Single Line Unlimited Calling Plan (optional) - $10/mo. per account**
    Multi-Line (multiple phones sharing minutes on one account) Unlimited Calling Plan (optional) - $20/mo. per account** **Monthly charges exclude taxes, Sprint Surcharges [incl. USF charge of up to 11.4% (varies quarterly), Administrative Charge (up to $1.99/line/mo.), Regulatory Charge ($0.20/line/mo.) & state/local fees by area]. Sprint Surcharges are not taxes or gov't-required charges and are subject to change. Details: AM I MISSING SOMETHING?
  • @ceejay Nope. That's the same thing we linked to. So, it's $100 for the hardware, $5 month and $10.
  • Wow, Sprint should be giving the AIRAVE away and just charging for the service, in any event it was never really a doubt abt AT&T testing the femtocells, their is more $$ to be sucked out of ya that way rather then just offering up UMA.
  • so...are you essentially using your internet connection bandwidth to make calls? So, your paying AT&T but using up, say, Time Warner's bandwidth, they're ok with that?